Posts Tagged With: Colorado

Seventh Nomadiversary

This month we celebrate 7 years on the road. I haven’t posted in a long time because we really haven’t done anything new or different. 2021 was almost a repeat of 2020, so I didn’t even include a Nomadiversary video like I usually do. Instead I thought I would just write a recap of how we spent the rest of 2021 after my last post about skiing.

After leaving Breckenridge last April, we spent a week in Canon City, Colorado and visited the Royal Gorge Bridge Park.

Next we headed to Texas to spend some time with friends and family. First we stayed at Cedar Ridge Campground to visit the Graham family. We met them our first year on the road, but they are no longer traveling so we like to visit them anytime we’re in Texas. Ironically as I’m writing this we just left that same campground and another visit with the Grahams on our way back out west. But these pictures are from our visit with them last spring.

The Graham Family

We also like to visit my aunt and uncle in Nederland whenever we’re in Texas. Last spring we visited them after the Grahams, and just like seeing the Grahams this month on our way back out west, we also saw John and Patty again. I love when we can route our travels through areas where we can visit friends and family.

From there we headed to Meaher State Park in Mobile, Alabama where our good friends the Norstrems came to visit. This was our second visit to this state park. We love that there are so many sites backed up to the water, and the sunsets are amazing!

Next we moved on to Georgia for the summer. First we stayed at Victoria Campground for a couple of weeks and then moved to Hiawassee for a couple of months. We spent the entire summer there last year and liked it so much we decided to do it again. We enjoyed lots of visits with my parents and Cheryl & Chris while we were there, as well as visits from some good friends.

Tubing in Ellijay

We went ziplining at Unicoi State Park in Helen, Georgia which was so much fun!

At the end of August we headed back to Florida. I know what you’re thinking, who in their right mind heads to Florida in the heat of the summer? πŸ™‚ We do because we had dentist and orthodontist appointments to take care of, plus the kids have birthdays in September and they wanted to go to their favorite place, Universal Orlando.

We headed to Fort Clinch State Park first, and Chris and I enjoyed lots of alone time because the kids like to go stay with their Mimi while we’re there.

Having a date night on the beach

We also got to spend time with some good friends while we were in Fernandina Beach, but unfortunately we must have been having so much fun we forgot to take pictures. πŸ˜‰

We bought season passes to Universal Orlando and went 4 times during the fall. When we used to get Disney passes we would stay at the Fort Wilderness campground, but since Universal doesn’t have a campground, we stayed in hotels each time.

Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel

In September we stayed at Cabana Bay which I love because we can walk to Universal’s water park, Volcano Bay. In September when it is really hot outside, I prefer the water park over the theme parks, but we did both.

Later that month we stayed at Royal Pacific which we like because it comes with Universal’s Express Pass and we can walk to the theme parks. Jake turned 17 and Jesse turned 15 in September and we celebrated at the Toothsome Chocolate Factory at Universal’s City Walk.

For the other two trips to Universal in November and December we stayed at Hard Rock Hotel and Portofino Bay. Both of those also come with Universal’s Express Pass and are walking distance to the theme parks. I think our favorite is Hard Rock, but Portofino Bay is absolutely beautiful!

Hogwarts Castle
Inside Gringotts Bank
New Velocicoaster ride

My kids have turned into Harry Potter fans since we started going to Universal instead of Disney. The 2 Harry Potter lands (Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade) are so well done! The new Velocicoaster ride is awesome if you like roller coasters.

We spent a couple of weeks in October in the Keys. We started at my favorite Bahia Honda State Park where we had an incredible site backed up to the water.

Fat Cat enjoying the view from the back patio
The kids floating in the back yard
Amazing sunsets!

We spent a lot of time swimming and snorkeling with the Reyes family while we were in the Keys. In addition, we had a great time with them at Robbie’s in Islamorada feeding the tarpon.

Fun with the Reyes Family

We also stayed at John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo where Jake and I went kayaking through the mangroves and even had a manatee swim right underneath our kayak. We took a snorkel trip to a coral reef which was so beautiful. I don’t have any good pictures from snorkeling, so you’ll have to take my word for it that the coral reef was amazing!

Kayaking through the mangroves

We had a quick visit to Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground after the Keys. I love staying at that campground even when we don’t have Disney tickets. We were there in October and rented a golf cart so we could ride around the camping loops and look at all of the Halloween decorations. My favorite site was the one with all the Stormtroopers dressed up in Little Mermaid costumes.

Isn’t this so cool?

Chris and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary at Fort Wilderness, and then went to the Reyes’ house the next day and celebrated again, after surviving a truck breakdown on the way there.

Camping at the Reyes’ house and toasting with our anniversary glasses

We’re so thankful for friends who have RV spots for us, and we’re also thankful to Keith for rescuing us when we were broken down on the way to their house.

Speaking of friends with RV spots, we spent many weeks off and on at the Norstrem family ranch from September through January. The Norstrems are our other family, not blood relatives, but just as special to us.

The roosters crow outside my bedroom window throughout the day, and I think it’s so funny when I’m on the phone with someone from work and they hear the roosters.

We went to a Tim Hawkins concert with the Norstrems which was so much fun. Tim Hawkins is hilarious! We also looked for gators at Okefenokee Swamp Park, but didn’t find any.

Celebrating Ken’s 50th Birthday

Finally, we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in Charlotte with family.

Hanging out with Mom, Dad, Cheryl & Chris

As I write this I realize that even though much of this year was a repeat of the previous year, we still had a really great year and enjoyed lots of time with friends and family. There is a lot of craziness going on in the world and sometimes the future seems so uncertain. I don’t ever want to take for granted time with loved ones.

Thank you for reading. I hope everyone has a blessed, healthy and prosperous 2022!

Fat Cat turned 10 this year and we thought this was a funny picture with her tongue sticking out
Categories: Our Travels, Roadschooling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not all Birds Fly South for the Winter

While most “normal” RVers choose to spend winters in warm states like Florida and Arizona, we prefer winters in the snow. So for the 3rd year in a row we headed out to Breckenridge, Colorado just after New Years and spent over 3 months enjoying snow, cold weather and skiing. By the way, it’s a little strange to be writing about winter in June, but whatever! I’m a little behind. πŸ˜‰

The reason we always head to Breckenridge is because we like to stay at Tiger Run RV Resort which is near four different ski areas that are included on the Epic Season Pass we get (Breck, Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek). It’s nice to have some variety with the 4 ski areas when we’re staying for 3+ months. However, I’ve been looking into other ski areas for next year because Tiger Run significantly raised their monthly rates.

Moose in the site next to us at Tiger Run

Last year we rented a ski-in/ski-out condo to celebrate Chris’s 50th birthday. If you read my post from last year (Back to Breck), you might remember the ski mountains shut down just a few days later due to COVID. That was quite disappointing, but this year more than made up for the early end to last year’s ski season. This past February we rented the same condo and my sister and her husband came out to stay with us.

My brother-in-law Chris trying snowboarding

While they visited we tried out cross-country skiing for the first time. It was fun, but I still prefer downhill skiing.

Cheryl & Chris cross-country skiing
Cute igloo at the cross-country ski area

Whenever we ski at Keystone, we take the very scenic drive over Swan Mountain to get there. I’ve always wanted to stop and take pictures on the drive, but since we’re always heading to Keystone to ski, I would have ski boots on which are not comfortable for walking around and sightseeing. Since Chris is a photographer, I knew he and Cheryl would love to take this scenic drive and stop at the viewpoints. It turns out it’s called Sapphire Point and Cheryl already had it on her bucket list of places to see!

Sapphire Point

Speaking of Keystone, we spent many Friday evenings skiing there. Unfortunately they did not have other weeknights open for skiing this year. I love night skiing, but I did not enjoy it as much on Friday nights because it was so crowded. It seems like Friday nights are when the party crowd shows up for the weekend and they ski a little too recklessly for my comfort level. A snowboarder even crashed right into Jake one night, but thankfully neither one of them were hurt.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having a good time! It’s just that I prefer to keep my limbs intact and not ski with people that may have had a little too much happy hour before hitting the slopes. πŸ˜‰

Breathtaking view of Keystone Village while night skiing

My favorite thing we did this year was to spend a few days at a ski-in/ski-out hotel at Vail for my birthday in March. It definitely redeemed the disappointing birthday I had last year when the ski resorts chose that day to shut down for the season. One thing that made the time in Vail especially fun was we got the most snow of the season while we were there. Skiing on fresh powder is the best!

Skiing at Vail was awesome!

We stayed at Lion Square Lodge and really enjoyed the pool and hot tub after skiing.

The last time we went to Vail in 2019 we didn’t like it that much. That’s because we made the mistake of going on a Saturday on the last weekend they were open in April. It was hot, the snow was slushy and many trails were already closed for the season. In addition it was super crowded. This time we did Vail right and enjoyed it immensely!

We also enjoyed 2 more ski-in/ski-out hotels this winter. One was at Grand Timber Lodge where we got a good deal to stay for Easter.

Awesome view from our room at Grand Timber Lodge

The other one was Grand Colorado. Last year we had a Dream Vacation Week certificate for a week long stay there, but it was canceled due to COVID. Thankfully we were able to re-schedule it for this year and it was amazing!

The hot tubs at Grand Colorado were incredible, especially this infinity hot tub overlooking the ski lifts.

As you can see, we really enjoy staying right on the mountain. Tiger Run RV Resort is only a 10 minute drive from the Breckenridge ski area, but there is nothing like staying right on the mountain.

It really was a fabulous season, and such a blessing after the way last year turned out. I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures sledding at Carter Park and Frisco sledding park.

Carter Park
Frisco sledding park

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back to Breck

If you have been following along for awhile, you might remember that we spent last winter (2019) skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado. We loved it so much we returned for another ski season this year.

82434976_3255170681176538_4821265978497171456_n

We had a another fabulous season until it abruptly ended due to COVID-19. We are living in very strange times these days, right? I haven’t posted anything lately, and it has been hard to even motivate myself to post this because it’s difficult to see these pictures and not feel sad about how much things have changed in our world since then.

After spending the holidays with family back east, we headed out to Colorado to get back to one of our favorite places. Thankfully we had 2 good months of skiing before everything shut down.

20200209_174456~2

Home Sweet Home

In addition to Breckenridge we skied at Keystone and Beaver Creek. Arapahoe Basin was no longer included on our Epic Passes so we didn’t go there, and we had intended to ski at Vail but never made it there before everything closed.

20200125_160312_HDR~2

20200118_102634_HDR~2

20200118_094848_HDR~2

We found our “bear cave” from last year, which we now think we should call a “beer cave” due to all the beer cans we saw in there. πŸ™‚

20200118_105031~2

20200222_133915~2

20200125_124203~2

Our first day back to skiing we had to take it easy and get used to it again, but it didn’t take long at all for these boys to get back to doing what they do best, the double-black diamond trails. They even talked me into doing The Windows once. Trust me, once was enough!

20200307_115654_HDR

Chris did the Needles Eye with them, but I refused. Later they told me I made the right choice. πŸ˜‰

20200307_120111_HDR

At Beaver Creek the kids’ favorite run is 4 Get About It. We did that one a few times this year. I keep trying to tell them “forget about it, I’m not doing that!”, but they won’t take no for an answer. Somehow I manage to keep up with them. πŸ˜‰

20200125_104235_HDR

4 Get About It

One day at Beaver Creek Chris had a bad fall just after we took this picture.

20200201_094549_HDR~2

Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t be going down trails for “Experts Only”?

Chris was out of commission for a couple of weeks due to his injury, so the boys and I had to ski without him while he recovered.

20200211_104936_HDR~2

20200211_110242~2

In February we had some epic amounts of snow! Check out all that powder!

20200211_110601~2

20200208_145608_HDR~2

20200208_145947_HDR~2

One day Chris & Jake tried to take Fat Cat for a sleigh ride at the campground. She wasn’t amused.

20200207_123400~2

We love going to Keystone during the week for night skiing. The weekends are pretty crowded at Breck, but we’re usually working during the week so we have to just deal with the weekend crowds. Going skiing after work at night during the week is so much fun!

20200116_172940~2

20200122_181214~2

Last year we celebrated my 50th birthday at a ski-in/ski-out resort at the base of one of the ski areas at Breck, which was definitely one of my best birthdays ever. We decided to do the same thing again this year for Chris’s 50th. Yes, he’s younger than me, lol! Our birthdays are 3 days apart so we are the same age for 3 days until I become the “older woman” again.

20200311_071712_HDR~2

View from the balcony of our vacation rental

For this year’s birthday celebration we got an amazing VRBO at the base of Peak 8.

20200310_155729~2

20200310_155756~2

But that is not even the best part! My parents came out to spend the week with us, along with some of the Picariello family (life-long friends). My parents hadn’t skied in 12 years, and we were so super excited to show them and the Picariellos around Breckenridge.

21123~2

Meeting up with Mom and Dad at Breckenridge Station

Jake and Jesse showed Gramma and Grampa around town while we got everyone’s luggage moved into the condo. Then the boys brought the Grands for a ride up the gondola to get to the condo.

21127~2

21129~2

Looking at these pictures reminds me of just how super excited we were for this vacation week, not giving much thought to the invisible enemy that was out there, about to change the world as we knew it.

20200311_102951_HDR~2

An epic day skiing with Mom and Dad and the Picariellos

21171~2

Grampa, Chris, Jesse & Jake

20200311_122846_HDR~2

My parents… still skiing in their 70s!

20200311_111210_HDR~2

We talked Lauren into trying Devil’s Crotch. I won’t go into details about how that went. Hint, hint… it wasn’t pretty, lol!

20200313_120505_HDR~2

We did much better on Imperial.

21175

21166 (2)

Some of the gang enjoying the hot tub after skiing

Well, all good things must come to an end, right? The night before my birthday we found out that all the ski mountains had to close immediately due to coronavirus. I can’t even describe just how disappointed we were!

However, I am thankful that we at least had a few good days of skiing before that happened. We got to ski on Chris’s birthday, and the Picariellos got all of their skiing in before the closures. In fact, we had just dropped off some of the Picariellos at their shuttle to go back to the airport when we got the news.

My parents were still with us for a few more days, and we had planned to ski some more, but that was not meant to be. We made the best of it and used the empty ski mountain as a sledding hill.

received_211119203601397~2

Sledding instead of skiing on my birthday

received_249082542784304~2

20200316_180105_HDR~2

Sitting on the chair lift, wishing it wasn’t closed

After Mom and Dad went home, the only thing left to do in Breckenridge was sledding, so we did that a few more times.

20200322_153337_HDR~2

Sledding with the Schott family, our good friends and next door neighbors for the season

20200322_153103~2

20200322_153107~2

20200329_155000~2

20200329_155157~2

Eventually even the sledding hills closed, so it was time for us to go. The RV park in Breck is not cheap and it just wasn’t worth spending the money to stay there any longer when everything was closed.

So we headed to my friend Rachel’s campground in St. Louis to hunker down and wait things out. We had plans to spend the summer in Michigan, and St. Louis was close enough to continue on with those plans if things re-opened. However it doesn’t look like that will be a good place to go this year.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took at our RV park in Breckenridge before we left. It’s so beautiful there!

20200320_173251_HDR~2

20200320_173823_HDR~2

20200320_173746~2

I’m not gonna lie, it was really hard to leave this winter wonderland. We all love skiing and playing in the snow so much, it was so disappointing when it ended early.

I hope and pray that you are all staying safe & healthy. Let’s hope we can all get back to adventuring and exploring soon!

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Back to Ridgway State Park

Ridgway State Park is my favorite Colorado State Park, and probably my favorite state park in America. We stayed there back in 2016, and I was so excited to stay there again this year.

Ridgway State Park has 3 different campgrounds. We started out at the full hookup campground called Pa Co Chu Puk. Interesting name, right?

20190512_145246_HDR

View from our campsite at Pa Co Chu Puk

Can you believe that view? It was incredible. Last time we stayed there I made some notes about which campsites I would like if we came back, and that was one of them.

20190518_165505 (2)

Uncompahgre River at Ridgway State Park

Fat Cat loved this park the last time we went there because there were so many chipmunks for her to hunt. She loved it again this time, but didn’t catch any chipmunks; she must be losing her touch!

20190512_163223 (2)

20190514_180840 (2)

She loves to hide in the grass and wait for critters to pass by.

While we were at this campsite Jake and I went for a beautiful bike ride on the Enchanted Mesa. Last time we stayed there I had to go for bike rides by myself; this time it was so nice to have Jake join me. I’m sad he’s growing up so fast, but at least there are some benefits.

20190513_165352_HDR (2)

Enchanted Mesa bike trail

This bike trail is really hard to get to. We had to push our bikes up several switch backs, stopping frequently to catch our breath, until we finally made it to the top where we could ride and enjoy these incredible views.

20190513_165642 (2)

20190513_170416_HDR (2)

On the other side of the trail, Chris and Jesse met us to give us a ride home. But first the boys (all 3 of them) had to try out the giant slide.

20190513_175734

One of my favorite mountain towns in all of America is Telluride. We went there twice before, and while staying at Ridgway we went there for a third visit.

20190523_171027

The funny thing is there was a snow storm the day we visited Telluride in late May!

20190523_144406 (2)

The last 2 times we visited there we went for a hike, but not this time. It was a little too cold, but we still enjoyed the scenic gondola ride.

20190523_141157_HDR

20190523_141913 (2)

The view from the gondola wasn’t quite the same during a snow storm. But I actually enjoyed seeing what it looked like in the snow. Below is a picture of the view from the gondola on a clear day, the first time we went back in 2015.

0822151319a

I could never get tired of visiting this beautiful mountain town.

20190523_172610_HDR (2)

Beautiful Telluride

During our stay at Ridgway we moved to a second site at the Elk Ridge Campground. Like I mentioned before, there are 3 campgrounds at Ridgway, and even though it’s a pain to move, we love staying at the different campgrounds in the state park.

On moving day it happened to be snowing, yes in May!

20190520_130344_HDR

Elk Ridge Campground

A few days later it cleared up and we were able to see this amazing view from the campsite that we couldn’t see the first day.

20190523_192557_HDR (3)

I was glad the weather warmed up while we were there so Jake and I could go on another bike ride. This was my favorite bike ride in the country, and I was glad to do it again and share it with Jake.

20190525_130755_HDR

Start of our bike ride and the amazing views

20190525_133118_HDR (2)

Riding along the Uncompahgre River

20190525_133405

20190525_135125

20190525_135755_HDR

20190525_141915 (2)

20190525_140859

Dennis Weaver Memorial Park, a stop along our bike ride

Another one of my favorite mountain towns is Ouray. One thing I love about Ridgway State Park is that it’s close to both Telluride and Ouray.

20190515_175720 (2)

20190515_175835 (2)

Ouray, Colorado — Switzerland of America

20190515_180546_HDR (2)

State parks only allow us to stay for a max of 2 weeks. It’s too bad because I could stay in that area for much longer. Can you see why it’s my favorite state park in the country? If you are interested in reading my first post about this park from 2016 you can see it here:Β Ridgway State Park.

We thought we were done with snow when we left Breckenridge, but we were surprised to have snow a couple of times in this area in late May. Do you think that would have been the end of it? No! We had more snow in June at Grand Teton National Park. Stay tuned to hear about that next.

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Glenwood Springs and Rifle Falls

After our Epic Winter in Breckenridge, we headed west towards Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Fat Cat was so happy to be back outside again in the warm sunshine!

20190503_175528

Jesse was also happy to be done with snow and be able to play ball outside again with Chris.

20190503_165850

Rifle Gap State Park

I was happy to be back at a state park again. I just love the spacious campsites and beautiful views we have at state parks. We stayed at Rifle Gap State Park where we had an amazing view from our campsite!

20190511_153642_HDR~2

20190504_200109 (2)

Fat Cat was in heaven; finally back outside hunting for critters.

There was a lot to see and do in the area. We went into Glenwood Springs to see Hanging Lake and take a soak in the Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Hanging Lake is a beautifully clear, turquoise-colored lake situated high up on a mountain.

20190504_153908

Hanging Lake

Too many visitors to this precious gem resulted in damage to the fragile eco-system; therefore, starting May 1st of this year visitors are required to purchase a permit and ride a shuttle to the trail head (May 1st-Oct 31). When we visited, it was $12/person and we needed to reserve a spot in advance. There is now a limit of 615 people per day, and each shuttle accommodates 44 people. The nice thing is the trail was not overly crowded. Hanging Lake is such a popular spot that I could see how it would have been frustrating sharing the trail and lake views with hundreds of other people at the same time.

20190504_155455

The hike starts in Glenwood Canyon on a flat, paved trail running along the Colorado River.

20190504_1440162

Colorado River

Soon you will arrive at the start of a steep uphill climb. The hike up is a little over a mile, but it’s difficult because you climb over 1000 feet in elevation. Once you arrive at the top and catch your first glimpse of Hanging Lake you realize it was worth the climb!

20190504_154107_HDR

Just a little further up and you can see Spouting Rock, a magnificent waterfall!

20190504_160532

20190504_160714_HDR

Behind Spouting Rock

On our way to Glenwood Springs we ran into a little traffic jam. We thought it was hilarious to come upon a huge herd of cows wandering down the highway like they own the road!

20190504_130105

Iron Mountain Hot Springs was incredible! It is surrounded by Rocky Mountain views and sits alongside the Colorado River. There are 16 geothermal soaking pools as well as a larger family pool. We enjoyed an afternoon trying out several of the pools.

20190507_164204

Iron Mountain Hot Springs overlooking the Colorado River

20190507_174513_HDR

20190507_161203

20190507_201107_HDR

Jesse lined up rocks along my arm, maybe to make it more like a spa experience? πŸ˜‰

20190507_202059 (3)

Our campground was just down the road from Rifle Falls State Park which was yet another beautiful spot.

20190505_153020

Rifle Falls State Park

20190505_145226_HDR

20190505_150658_HDR

20190505_145419_HDR

20190505_1444022

Rifle Falls also has caves to explore that the kids enjoyed climbing.

20190505_144905

20190505_151725

20190505_154437

This is another one of those areas in Colorado that I would love to visit again someday. Colorado certainly has no shortage of incredible places to visit!

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Skiing at Beaver Creek and Vail

Beaver Creek and Vail Mountains were a little further away from where we were staying in Breckenridge so we only went to each of those one time. We loved Beaver Creek and wished we had made time to go there more than once. We didn’t love Vail as much but that was because we went the day before they closed for the season when the snow conditions were not the greatest and it was pretty hot for skiing that day in late April. Anyway, we would like to go back and ski at both of those areas another time.

20190330_095425

It was snowing the day we went to Beaver Creek. The visibility in the morning was pretty bad and there was so much new powder that it was challenging to ski on, although I love skiing on fresh powder.

20190330_095020

By late morning it cleared up and the views were incredible!

20190330_103219

20190330_112503

They had some fun Kids’ Adventure Zones that we loved like this one.

20190330_102751

20190330_102851

I knew once Jake saw this double-black diamond sign that I was in trouble!

20190330_103654_HDR

I should have said, “4 Get About It!”

This trail was so hard, but the kids kept saying how much fun it was. I just don’t get it, are we on the same trail here?? I mean, I don’t think I’d say this was fun. I was just happy to make it down alive.

20190330_103826

The beginning of 4 Get About It

20190330_104205_HDR

Me trying not to run into too many trees on 4 Get About It

20190330_142257_HDR

Chris going over a jump at the end of 4 Get About It

20190330_142302_HDR

And the result of Chris’s attempt at the jump at the end of 4 Get About It πŸ˜‰

I took so many pictures that day because the views were so beautiful!

20190330_112236

20190330_113808

Doesn’t it look like a painting in the background? The mountains almost didn’t look real!

20190330_113814

20190330_135045_HDR

The views from Vail were also very beautiful, I just wish we had gone earlier in the season because the snow was so slushy the day we went it was very hard to ski.

20190420_095949_HDR

Well, I should clarify that last statement and say that it was hard for me to ski, not the kids. Here is Jake going down something so steep I could barely see over the edge.

20190420_094527_HDR

I had heard the Legendary Back Bowls were the best but most of them were closed for the season. We did get to experience some of it though, which only made us want to come back again someday when it’s not springtime.

20190420_102648_HDR

20190420_104733_HDR

20190420_104913_HDR

20190420_112802_HDR

20190420_114529_HDR

We had gotten so spoiled with the soft, powdery snow at Breck all season that I found this so tiring. Slushy snow is very different and I was so sore the next day! I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a little more tiring to ski on this type of snow.

20190420_123816_HDR

Just taking a little rest.

That wraps up my posts about our winter ski adventures in Colorado. If you missed the first 3 posts you can see them here:Β An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1,Β An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2Β andΒ Skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.

What an amazing winter it was! In our 4+ years of traveling I think I can safely say that this was our favorite thing we’ve ever done.

I’ll end this with some fun statistics. With my Epic Local Pass I was tracked all season and can see my stats on the Epic Mix app. In 3 months we spent a total of 38 days skiing, rode 347 lifts and went 466,736 vertical feet. The # of lifts and vertical feet do not include A-Basin since they are not included in the app, but I did include that resort in the # of days skied. I’d say we got our money’s worth out of our Epic passes. πŸ™‚

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone

Besides Breckenridge, we did a lot of skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone. A-Basin is where the kids took lessons. We took a Monday off work for their lessons in the hopes that it would not be crowded and they would have a smaller class. I was also praying that they would not need to take too many lessons because the lessons are expensive, and I wanted them to be ready to ski with us as soon as possible. Chris and I had our own ski date for the whole day while the kids were in lessons.

20190204_110049_HDR

It turned out they had a private lesson that day since it wasn’t crowded at all, and I was thrilled at the end of the day when their instructor told me they are naturals. By the end of the day she was taking them up on the lift and they were going down green (easy) slopes. We still had about 30 minutes before the lifts closed, and Chris & I were able to ski with them for a little while to see just how well they were doing. I couldn’t believe it! In one day they learned to ski so well!

20190204_154803 (2)

20190204_154855

Their instructor was so awesome and the kids couldn’t stop talking about her and how much they loved skiing. My prayers were answered!

Arapahoe Basin is the highest elevation of the 5 ski areas we went to and had some amazing views!

20190327_133506

20190305_091158

20190305_095521

20190305_100945

20190217_135524_HDR

We eventually started getting brave enough to try some tougher terrain like this trail through the woods complete with lots of moguls. I may or may not have run into a tree or two skiing through here. πŸ˜‰

20190305_095623_HDR

Eureka was the kids’ favorite. I tried it once and hated it. So the other times they wanted to go down this one I told them to go ahead and I would see them at the bottom. However, by late April after Jake had challenged me with lots of double-black diamonds at Breck, I started going down Eureka with them and I no longer hated it.

20190324_131513

20190217_141906_HDR

20190224_121647

20190327_135503

The boys loved the jumps at the terrain parks. This is Jake going over a jump. I did not get a good picture of Jesse doing it, but I did get him on video at least.

20190305_140346_Burst02 (2)

I don’t have nearly as many pictures from Keystone because most of the time we skied there at night. They are the only resort that has night skiing which we loved! Most of the time we skied on weekends except for a few days here and there when we took a day off work. But with Keystone having night skiing we were able to go there after work to ski several times. That was awesome, but the pictures don’t always come out great in the dark.

20190208_155510

Keystone has a super long easy green trail… 3.5 miles.

20190213_180703~3 (2)

Night skiing is so beautiful and peaceful!

We had a great time skiing at Keystone with the Biles family.

received_648597195595778~2

received_827584340925281

You know what’s funny is I used to love when Daylight Savings Time started, but I did not this year. Once the time changed, night skiing at Keystone just wasn’t the same. It didn’t get dark early enough! πŸ˜‰ Also, Keystone’s night skiing ended for the season by late March so we had to find something else to do in the evenings, which is when we took up sledding.

Breck was my favorite ski area, but with the Epic Pass it was really nice to be able to go to these other mountains to ski sometimes. If you missed my first 2 posts about wintering in Colorado you can see them here:Β An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1Β andΒ An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2

As much as we loved staying at Tiger Run RV Resort in our own comfy home on wheels, sometimes it’s nice to stay even closer to the slopes. I’m talking ski-in/ski-out type of close. We had the chance to do that twice during our time in Breckenridge.

First, we stayed in a slope-side condo at the base of Peak 7 in Crystal Peak Lodge. We did this to celebrate my birthday. Not just any birthday mind you, but the big one. The big 50! Believe it or not, I turned a half a century in March. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate that milestone than to spend it at a slope-side condo and ski as much as my heart desired.

20190427_113049_HDR

Crystal Peak Lodge at the base of Peak 7

In addition, I had the pleasure of a friend from New England come out to stay with us. Unfortunately her original flight was canceled because there was a huge “bomb cyclone” blizzard going on in Denver that day (Google it, I had never heard of a bomb cyclone). Anyway, she was persistent and thankfully made it to our rental place at 1am on the morning of my birthday.

Like me, she grew up skiing in the northeast and really wanted to try out some Colorado skiing. I don’t think she was disappointed!

20190315_091703

20190315_101804_HDR

20190315_101835_HDR

While Lauren was with us we enjoyed the best weather and surprisingly light crowds, especially considering it was spring break. Maybe the canceled flights to Denver had something to do with that.

We also got more adventurous while she was with us and went up to the highest point, Imperial Express which is also the highest lift in North America.

20190315_121408_HDR

Top of Peak 8

20190316_140739

Top of Peak 6

One of the expert lifts at Breck is the T-Bar. We hadn’t tried that previously either, but with Lauren we must have felt braver for some reason. The funny thing is that back in New England the T-Bar was on the easy slopes, typically called the “bunny slopes”. It was funny to see that the T-Bar here at Breck is for experts only and goes up to some very advanced trails.

20190407_115419

T-Bar

We have a very funny story about riding up this T-Bar. Jake and I were riding up together and Lauren was behind us by a bit. Jake and I noticed some people a few T-Bars ahead of us fell off (that is not unusual on the T-Bar, it’s difficult to stay on that thing the whole way up). There are signs all over the side instructing you to move off to the side quickly if you fall off. So Jake and I assumed they had plenty of time to get out of the way before we caught up to them. Wrong! They started rolling down the hill towards us! They took out the people in front of us, then continued rolling and crashed into us as well. Once we finally got ourselves under control and got out of the way of the other oncoming T-Bar riders, Lauren rode by and saw a mess of people and skis all over the place. I so wish I had that on video! It was really quite funny and we laughed about it for a long time afterwards.

20190323_115713

Jake started to get really brave when Lauren was visiting and that’s when he wanted to start trying some double-black diamond trails. Lauren pointed out some interesting sounding trail names on the map like Devil’s Crotch and Pergatory. None of those sounded even remotely like something I wanted to try, but we did try a couple of double-blacks with names like Cucumber Bowl and Southern Cross. Those names don’t sound nearly so intimidating, right? About a week after Lauren left though, Chris and Jake found Devil’s Crotch and decided to give it a try. Not me though!

You know, turning 50 is not so bad. I can honestly say that was one of my best birthdays ever!

IMG_2321

A few weeks later we had the opportunity to spend a whole week at another ski-in/ski-out lodge. I joined an RV club called RVillage a few years ago. They gave out gift certificates to some of us who joined way back when they first started. The gift certificates were for a Dream Vacation Week at certain hotels around the country for a greatly reduced price. I thought it was a scam or too good to be true when I first received it, so I discarded it and forgot about it. I received a reminder that it was about to expire in April, so out of curiosity I checked to see if there were any hotels in Breckenridge included in this deal. There were a couple, but I still thought it was a scam so I contacted someone at RVillage to confirm it was legitimate. It turns out it was for real and we enjoyed a fantastic week at Grand Timber Lodge.

20190406_182055_HDR

Heated outdoor pool at Grand Timber Lodge

20190407_200745

One of the indoor/outdoor pools at Grand Timber Lodge

The pools were awesome! You could swim under the flap to go to the outdoor part of the pool, and even though it was cold and snowing outside, the pool was so warm. They also had several hot tubs to enjoy!

20190410_201323

Swimming outside while it was snowing!

The lodge has private family movie theaters so we reserved one for an evening and watched The Greatest Showman. What a great movie, and also a great time having this theater all to ourselves!

20190412_182330

20190406_195227

We also enjoyed playing some pool.

There were 2 moose hanging out at the lodge that we saw often. Once they were hanging out right outside our window!

20190407_162454_HDR

20190407_162754_HDR

I could have reached out the window to touch this cutie, but of course I did not.

20190407_183035_HDR

20190407_205758

Sadly, they were taken away by wildlife control while we were there. Apparently there was an incident between the moose and a guest staying at the lodge. I was sad to see them go. They didn’t seem to be bothering anyone as far as I could tell.

I did a lot of skiing with Jake that week and he really challenged me on the double-black diamond trails. By the end of the week I think my skills had improved.

20190412_141050

This trail was so steep! It’s hard to see how steep it is in this picture, but trust me!

20190409_135204_HDR

We had a snow storm that week also which was pretty cool to see in April!

20190410_143120

I mentioned in my previous post that we skied at 5 ski areas included on our season pass. We bought the Epic Local Pass which includes the ski areas we went to as well as several others that were too far away including Park City, Whistler and even a ski area in Vermont and Japan! The Epic Local Pass was perfect for us since we were planning to be in the area for 3 months.

I will write about the other ski areas in my next 2 posts, but first a few helpful hints for anyone planning to winter in Breck at some point.

The town of Breckenridge is at 9600 feet. Some people can be affected by altitude sickness. It’s important to drink plenty of water before heading to Breck and while you’re there. We didn’t suffer from altitude sickness, but I did feel out of breath frequently. Sometimes just walking from the truck to the slopes carrying skis felt like such a workout! Everything seems harder at that altitude.

Another way to help prevent altitude sickness besides staying well hydrated is to climb to that elevation slowly if at all possible. If you are flying to Denver and heading straight to Breck you wouldn’t have that option, but if you are driving or RV’ing, take your time with the climb. We stopped in Denver for 3 nights before continuing on to Breckenridge which I think helped a lot.

20190427_093245_HDR

It was also nice to stay in Denver for a few days to take care of getting all of our ski equipment. Epic Mountain Sports sells inexpensive kids equipment on a buy-back program. We were able to get the kids skis and boots for $99/each and at the end of the season trade it back in for 50% store credit. Chris and I got seasonal rentals from Breeze Rentals. It was about $225/person for the season which was a lot less expensive than buying equipment, and we were able to return the rentals to the store in Breckenridge rather than take them back to Denver. We really don’t have room to carry around ski equipment year-round, so rentals and the kid’s trade-ins worked perfectly. Also, we learned that by the time we were heading to Breckenridge they no longer had any seasonal rentals so it was good to get them in Denver. Another tip: if you need any other equipment like helmets, goggles, etc., get them in Denver. Everything is more expensive in Breck.

20190129_165742_HDR-EFFECTS

A small preview of snow in Denver at Cherry Creek State Park

Incidentally, while staying in Denver we met the nicest couple! It just so happens they were dealing with cracks in their RV just like we dealt with last year. We were able to share our story with them about how Heartless Heartland refused to help us. Thankfully their story had a better ending. Their RV was manufactured by Forest River who apparently cares more about their customers than Heartland does because Forest River took the RV back to Indiana and repaired everything for them. It didn’t hurt that they also had a lot of help from their dealer, unlike our dealer (Dick Gore’s RV World in Jacksonville) who did not help us at all. This is my shameless reminder to you to not buy a Heartland RV and be very careful about the dealer you purchase from. It’s so important to have a dealer who will back you up if you need it.

One last tip for getting to Breckenridge. This website was very helpful in planning our travel days: https://cotrip.org/home.htm. We watched the weather and the road conditions to make sure we traveled on a day when the roads would be clear.

I hope you find these tips helpful if you ever plan to make the trip. I’m also happy to answer any questions so feel free to email me.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1

It has been a long time since I posted anything here, I think it’s about time I catch up on what we’ve been up to lately. We just spent a fabulous 3 months in Breckenridge, Colorado skiing and playing in the snow. RV’ing in the snow is a novelty to us being from Florida. We weren’t quite sure what to expect and if we would be warm enough in the RV. I am happy to report that our Grand Design RV was plenty warm enough and we had the most amazing 3 months ever!

20190209_101136_HDR

20190223_093457_HDR

Chris and I have skied before, but it had been 11 years since we last skied. Also, we have only ever skied in New England so skiing in Colorado was a totally new experience. The kids have never skied so they took lessons the first day. I’ll talk more about their lessons in a later post, but suffice it to say they had an excellent instructor. By the end of the season they were taking us down double-black diamond trails (if you’re not familiar with ski terminology, those are the hardest for sure!)

20190304_090352

20190304_090953

We skied at 5 ski areas that were all included on our season pass (more about that later as well). After 3 months of skiing, I’m sure you can imagine I had tons of pictures to sort through. I can’t possibly fit everything into one post as that would be way too long, so I’ll try to organize this into a few smaller posts. This first post is about skiing at Breckenridge and also includes where we stayed.

20190304_095704

20190304_084832

The Breckenridge ski area is huge! There are 5 peaks and so many lifts and trails, it was several visits before we had explored most of it. At first we stuck to the easier green (beginner) and blue (intermediate) trails, but eventually our kids wanted to venture onto the black (expert) trails.

20190304_103744_HDR

20190304_084521

I’m glad they advanced in their skills and enjoyed it so much, but I have to admit there were times I wish they would have stuck to the greens and blues. Those black trails were quite challenging for me. I got better as the season went on, but there were times I was praying I would make it down alive! πŸ˜‰

20190304_103753_HDR

20190304_100337

There were some trails called Kid’s Adventure Zones which were basically trails through the woods with fun props along the way. We loved those! I was glad we had kids with us because the sign states adults must be accompanied by a child. πŸ™‚ At Breck our favorites were the Haunted Forest and Ripperoos Forest.

20190209_102527_HDR

20190216_115914_HDR

We stayed at Tiger Run RV Resort. It was a great place to call home for 3 months. It was a 10 minute drive to Breck, 15 minutes to Keystone, 25 minutes to Arapahoe Basin and about 40-50 minutes to Vail and Beaver Creek. I’ll write about those other ski areas in a later post. There were several other Fulltime Families staying at Tiger Run. In fact, we learned all about how to winter RV in the snow from a family that we had previously met at a couple of FtF rallies. That family was staying at Tiger Run also, and we had so much fun hanging out with them.

20190303_084329 (2)

Home Sweet Home

Fat Cat was not crazy about this snow thing. She loves to go outside, but she did NOT love it here. I think she was mad at us for staying so long in a place where she did not enjoy going outside. By late April however, most of the snow at our site had melted and she was happy to be back outside again.

20190303_084206~2 (3)

20190303_084221 (3)

The kids loved playing outside in the snow with their friend Jacob.

20190303_150553 (2)

20190303_151310 (2)

I also loved playing in the snow! The snow was so soft and there was so much of it!

20190303_152123 (2)

The whole bottom half of my body is buried in snow!

The RV park has a really nice indoor pool and hot tub which we enjoyed frequently.

20190303_194312

20190303_200539

Not all Fulltime Families fly south for the winter!

One day we even saw a moose wandering through the campground!

20190306_134250(2)

Another fun thing to do in Breckenridge is sledding at Carter Park.

20190328_183538_HDR

20190328_184223_HDR

20190328_191223_HDR

Chris being his usual silly self. πŸ˜‰

20190328_192913

View of the ski slopes at Breck from the sledding hill.

I can’t even describe what an incredible 3 months this was, it was a season I wish could have lasted forever. However, I don’t want to give the impression that life is always perfect like social media tends to portray. We had our share of challenges — RV’ing in the snow is not the easiest thing to do.

There are a lot of preparations necessary for RV’ing in the cold and snow. We had to put up foam board skirting along the outside of the RV to keep the underneath part of the RV from getting too cold. We had to use heated hoses and heat tape to keep the outside water and sewer hoses from freezing, but that didn’t always work which is why we sometimes had no water in the morning.

20190307_095007 (2)

In addition to the preparations, it seemed like our RV home was in a constant state of chaos and mess for 3 months. We were always tracking snow into the house when we came inside, and there were jackets, boots, ski pants, hats, gloves, etc. always taking up space because there is just no extra space for that kind of stuff in an RV. I am one of those people that is very organized and likes everything neat and in it’s place. The mess of those 3 months could have driven me crazy if I let it, but I had to remind myself that it was worth it, the memories we were making far outweighed any of the inconveniences!

20190427_094030_HDR

I’ll admit we were nervous about how we would survive spending 3 months in an RV in the cold and snow. Many times we came close to canceling and going someplace warmer. But I’ve come to realize that if we didn’t do things because of fear of the unknown, we would have missed out on some amazing experiences. This is one of those amazing experiences I’m so glad we didn’t miss out on due to fear of trying something new.

So, is there something in your life that you want to try but are letting fear hold you back? Please allow me to encourage you to give it a try. Don’t let fear prevent you from experiencing something new. It’s possible it may turn out to be a mistake, but it’s also possible it may turn out to be something amazing and incredible. You’ll never know until you give it a try. πŸ™‚

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cross Country Road Trip

After an amazing summer in the Pacific Northwest it was time to start making our way back east for the winter. We had 6 weeks to get from Washington to Florida. This post will cover the stops we made along the way.

First we spent a quiet week in eastern Oregon on the Idaho border, recovering from a couple of very busy weeks in Washington. We stayed at Farewell Bend Recreation Area on the Snake River across from Idaho. It was beautiful and peaceful!

0917171649_HDR

0920171756a_HDR

The 2nd week we spent celebrating Jake’s 13th birthday in Park City, Utah which I already wrote about. You can see it here if you missed it:Β Birthday Celebration in Park City, Utah.

Week #3 was spent in South Fork, Colorado where the fall foliage was gorgeous! Our campground was right on the Rio Grande River.

1006171357d_HDR

1006171400b_HDR

1006171405e_HDR

1006171405d_HDR

We spent week #4 in Amarillo, Texas for a couple of days and then the rest of the week in Oklahoma City.

In Amarillo we used the complimentary limo service to go have dinner at the Big Texan. This was so much fun and a shining example of true Texas hospitality!

1007171927_HDR

1007171946a_HDR

1007171949e_HDR

We also stopped by Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo to leave our mark on the classic cars and to meet up with our good friends the Thomas family. Somehow we always end up on the opposite side of the country as them, and our paths crossed here in Texas as they were headed west and we were headed east. Someday I hope we’ll be in the same state again for more than a day or two!

1008171416a_HDR

My beautiful friend Erica who I miss so much!

1008171425c_HDR

After a busy 2 days in Texas we moved on to Oklahoma City. Our campsite here was interesting, right on the mini golf course!

1010171711c_HDR

While in Oklahoma City we met up with my sister’s good friend Rene who gave us a personalized tour of the Oklahoma City National Memorial where she lived and worked at the time of the tragic bombing. This was a very sobering site to see, and so interesting to hear Rene’s story of the events that happened that day in 1995.

1012171717b_HDR

1012171717d_HDR

We also visited the Science Museum in Oklahoma City which we could go to for free on our ASTC reciprocal membership. The boys enjoyed this science museum very much!

1013171325_HDR

1013171313_HDR

We moved on to Arkansas for week #5 to visit Hot Springs National Park. I have to admit we were not all that impressed with this national park after all the amazing and scenic parks we’ve been to out west. This was basically just a town with historical bathhouses. Maybe were missing something, but it seems like it’s probably more interesting for adults… not including Chris and me, we’re not adulting right now. πŸ˜‰

1018171610a_HDR

1018171656_HDR

It turns out we were parked next to another Fulltime Family at the Hot Springs KOA and we enjoyed getting to know them. I hope we meet up with them again in the near future.

The Mid America Science Museum is located near Hot Springs and it is also included on our ASTC membership so we went there too. Another super fun science museum that the boys really enjoyed!

1020171422_HDR

1020171519_HDR

1020171348c_HDR

After an overnight stop in Tupelo, Mississippi where Chris & I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary at a Japanese Hibachi grill along with our kids, we moved on for week #6 in Woodstock, Georgia where we were able to visit with my sister and her husband for the week. We stayed at Victoria Campground which had very nice and large sites and beautiful sunsets on Lake Allatoona. We had lots of fun with Cheryl & Chris playing games and just being our silly selves.

1022171641a_HDR

1023171832a_HDR

And then finally, after 6 weeks and over 3000 miles we were back “home” in Florida at our happy place, Disney World just in time for trick-or-treating at Ft. Wilderness.

1031171850a_HDR

1031171851b_Burst02

We purchased new FL resident annual passes and got busy exploring our favorite amusement parks all over again. Lots of other Fulltime Families spend the winter in the Orlando area also, so it was fun to meet up with some of our friends at the Disney parks.

1101171702a_HDR

1102171924c_HDR

1102171934_HDR

1103171219_HDR

1103171821b_HDR

We even enjoyed a visit from my parents at Ft. Wilderness one weekend while they happened to be in the Orlando area.

IMG_1101

IMG_1104

As much as I love traveling out west, it is good to be home. We’ll spend the rest of this year hanging out with friends and family in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. I will probably be taking a break from blogging until we begin traveling again next year. Until then, I hope you all enjoy a blessed holiday season. Remember to make the most of your time with loved ones and be thankful. πŸ™‚

 

Categories: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.